Update: Felony Counts in Florida Bullying

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the harrowing death of Rebecca Ann Sedwick.

Rebecca Ann was 12 years old. She was in middle school. And she became so distraught as a result of online cruelty, she jumped from a platform at an abandoned cement plant. 

Advertisement

Yesterday's New York Times reports that the Polk County sheriff's office (Florida) has decided to file charges against two of Rebecca's peers, one who is 12, another who is 14. The girls were charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony.

According to the Times, the sheriff's office was focusing on a number of online comments, particularly one from the Facebook account of the 14-year-old. As the Times reports: "In Internet shorthand it began 'Yes, ik' -- I know -- 'I bullied Rebecca nd she killed herself.' The writer concluded that she didn't care, using an obscenity to make the point and a heart as a perverse flourish."

The owner of the account claims it was hacked, and that she did not post the comment. 

One noteworthy element brought to light by the Times is the anger of Sheriff Grady Judd, particularly at parents.

Brimming with outrage and incredulity, the sheriff said in a news conference on Tuesday that he was stunned by the older girl’s Saturday Facebook posting. But he reserved his harshest words for the girl’s parents for failing to monitor her behavior, after she had been questioned by the police, and for allowing her to keep her cellphone.

“I’m aggravated that the parents are not doing what parents should do: after she is questioned and involved in this, why does she even have a device?” Sheriff Judd said. “Parents, who instead of taking that device and smashing it into a thousand pieces in front of that child, say her account was hacked.” 

The article indicates that the sheriff's office is also asking for information from two cellphone application companies, Kik Messenger and ask.fm, which may have been additional avenues for taunting and mockery.

Read the full story here

 

Related Posts from The Ignatian Educator:

It Tolls for Thee

The Newest Threat to Good Teaching

Saving Students on Social Media

 

 

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Brotherhood must not be used as a cloak for privilege and secrecy.
Matthew Wooters, S.J. September 24, 2018
Napoleon’s consolidation of power in France in 1801 involved the recognition of the pope as the “ordinary and immediate pastor” of the universal church—a key component in the impending agreement between the Vatican and China.
Jeffrey von ArxSeptember 24, 2018
"Young Latinos are engaged. They are open to giving of themselves,” Archbishop José Gomez said. “We need to be more conscious of ministries for young Catholics.”
J.D. Long-GarcíaSeptember 24, 2018
 A young woman holds the Latvian flag as Pope Francis celebrates Mass Sept. 24 at the Shrine of the Mother of God in Aglona, Latvia. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
It was an important message for the 2.2 million people of Latvia, where today 37 percent of the population are Russian.
Gerard O’ConnellSeptember 24, 2018